timothy from the ok-fine-click-on-the-blue-e dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Although it won't help Linux run Windows-specific software applications, this easy hack produces an Ubuntu desktop that looks and feels a lot like Windows 7. It's particularly suitable for reviving older PCs or laptops on which the main activities will be web-browsing, email, document writing, and streaming music and videos from from the web. The process installs a Windows 7-like GNOME theme on an otherwise standard Ubuntu 10.04 installation, although it might work on other Linux distros with GNOME and appropriate other packages installed. Naturally all this begs the question: why would anybody want to do this? Why indeed!" People have been doing this sort of look-and-feel swap-out for years; it seems best to me as a practical joke.
An anonymous reader tips a piece in Australian Geographic indicating that Pluto may be in for another demotion, as researchers work to define dwarf planets more exactly. "[Australian researchers] now argue that the radius which defines a dwarf planet should instead be from 200–300 km, depending on whether the object is made of ice or rock. They base their smaller radius on the limit at which objects naturally form a spherical rather than potato-like shape because of 'self-gravity.' Icy objects less than 200 km (or rocky objects less than 300 km) across are likely to be potato shapes, while objects larger than this are spherical. ... They call this limit the 'potato radius' ... [One researcher is quoted] 'I have no problem with there being hundreds of dwarf planets eventually.'"
Soulskill from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.
stronghawk writes "The creator of the Nickel-O-Matic is back at it and has now built a Turing Machine from a Parallax Propeller chip-based controller, motors, a dry-erase marker and a non-infinite supply of shiny 35mm leader film. From his FAQ: 'While thinking about Turing machines I found that no one had ever actually built one, at least not one that looked like Turing's original concept (if someone does know of one, please let me know). There have been a few other physical Turing machines like the Logo of Doom, but none were immediately recognizable as Turing machines. As I am always looking for a new challenge, I set out to build what you see here.'"
jcatcw writes: Schools and libraries are hurting students by setting up heavy-handed Web filtering. The problem goes back for years. A filter blocked the Web site of former House Majoirty Leader Richard Armey because it detected the word "dick," according to a 2001 study from the Brennan Center of Justice. The purpose of schools should be to teach students to live in a democratic society, and that means teaching critical thinking and showing students controversial Web sites, says Craig Cunningham, a professor at National-Louis University. He quoted from a National Research Council study, "Swimming pools can be dangerous for children. To protect them, one can install locks... [or] teach them to swim." Web filtering also leads to inequities in education based on household income. Students from more affluent areas have access to Internet at home and, often, more enlightened parents who can let them access information blocked in schools and libraries. Poorer students without home access don't have those opportunities Link to Original Source
adeelarshad82 writes: Earlier this week, Marvell unveiled a $99 tablet e-reader reference design that the company promises will do for the e-reader market what ARM-based notebooks have done to compete with netbooks. The "Moby" contains a Marvell Armada 600-series microprocessor running at up to a gigahertz. The system-on-a-chip is powerful enough to be able to perform 1080p high-definition video encoding and decoding, some 3D graphics, and either the Google Android or Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. Marvell is pitching the Moby at students and other consumers who want the flexibility of a tablet, but don't want to pay for something like a JooJoo or an iPad.
An anonymous reader writes: Sergey Brin is suddenly outraged that Microsoft and others aren't following him out of China. Please. Not only did Google operate their for years, it STILL censors search and YouTube for other governments. Link to Original Source
Planets are always fun to look at, for instance if you have decent optics you should be able to make out some of the colouration on Jupiter as well as some of the moons. The moon is also a good place to look, you should be able to see interesting shadows on the craters or if you have a half moon look that the line between light and dark you can get some interesting contrast there.
beadwindow writes "NASA's IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft has made the first all-sky maps of the heliosphere and the results have taken researchers by surprise. The maps are bisected by a bright, winding ribbon of unknown origin: 'This is a shocking new result,' says IBEX principal investigator Dave McComas of the Southwest Research Institute. 'We had no idea this ribbon existed — or what has created it. Our previous ideas about the outer heliosphere are going to have to be revised.' Another NASA scientist notes, '"This ribbon winds between the two Voyager spacecraft and was not observed by either of them.'"
TheClockworkSoul writes "Researchers at the University of Oxford have devised a way to write memories onto the brains of flies, revealing which brain cells are involved in making bad memories. The researchers said that in flies, just 12 brain cells were responsible for what is known as 'associative learning.' They modified these neurons by adding receptors for ATP, so that the cells activate in the presence of the chemical, but since ATP isn't usually found floating around a fly's brain, the flies generally behave just like any other fly. Most interestingly, however, is that the scientists then injected ATP into the flies' brains, in a form that was locked inside a light-sensitive chemical cage. When they shined a laser on the fly brains, the ATP was released, and the 'associative learning' cells were activated. The laser flash was paired with an odor, effectively giving the fly a memory of a bad experience with the odor that it never actually had, such that it then avoided the odor in later experiments. The researchers describe their findings in the journal Cell."
timothy from the gets-pretty-creepy-doesn't-it? dept.
destinyland writes "A fertility service in L.A. and New York screens embryos for breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, and 70 other diseases — and lets couples pick the sex of their babies. But when their pre-implantation diagnostic services began including the baby's eye and hair color, even the Pope objected — and the Great Designer Baby Controversy began. '[W]e cannot escape the fact that science is moving forward,' the fertility service explained — before capitulating to pressure to eliminate the eye and hair color screenings."